The first batch of Fellows, passing out from the Fellowship programme offered by the Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad’s Centre for Healthcare Entrepreneurship (CfHE), are slated to establish a start-up that will aid in neo-natal care delivery for the weaker sections of the society. A second team is planning a start-up that will help rehabilitate stroke victims who have lost the use of limbs.
This has been made possible by the unique nature of this Fellowship, which is a one-year, fully-paid fellowship training program that offers not just an academic experience but practical skills, support, R&D and access to investors, all of which are vital for an entrepreneur to succeed, shares the students.
The unique nature of this Fellowship is that it also puts students in touch with investors and venture capitalists who will fund their start-ups if they come up with a viable proposal. The CfHE itself was conceived by two U.S.-based IIT-Bombay alumni’s who are with successful track records in technology and business.
Pratyusha Reddy, one of the six CfHE fellows in the first Batch who are going to pass out this summer, is currently working in the neonatal monitoring space for low-resource settings. She says clinical immersions were a potent means of connecting to reality and threw light on the existing gaps in the healthcare scenario.
On asking about the funding for their start-ups, students say it is yet to be finalised and declined to reveal further information at this initial stage.
Speaking about the incidents that touched, Pratyusha says “It instilled in us (students) a strong belief that frugal innovation can go miles in improving the healthcare system of India.
For instance, during our clinical immersion, we saw incidents where a 10 year old child with pneumonia was brought into the ER with extreme breathlessness and witnessed how much that child struggled to breathe even as the nurses in the emergency care were trying ease his pain and establish oxygen supply, just because he belonged to a low income family which did not have the means or knowledge about detection of pneumonia early on and seek treatment.
We saw a 40 year old man who met with a small cycle accident suffered a minor wound and just because it wasn’t treated properly due to lack of resources and knowledge about timely intervention, it led to a major infection and he lost his life in the battle against it. This wouldn’t have ever happened in a developed country.”
Speaking about the CfHE fellowships, Prof Mohan Raghavan, Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering and Co-Head CfHE, IIT Hyderabad, said it is a world-class program for aspiring healthcare entrepreneurs and currently one of India’s most competitive and coveted fellowships.
The full time in-residence fellowship and training will be strongly ‘hands-on’. The fellowship is designed as a simulated entrepreneurial journey with clinical immersion, needs analysis and design, ideation, business model development and culminates in the pitch to investors.
“To be a fellow at CfHE requires a completely different set of skills and outlook. Candidates may come from any background, medicine, engineering, science, design or management, but the ones who manage to mend their expertise in their own fields with the passion to change the way healthcare is delivered are usually the most successful in the fellowship.
A keen ability to observe and then get to the essence of the problem are invaluable skills in this pursuit” shares Prof Mohan. The objective of the fellowship is three-fold: to foster creativity and entrepreneurship in the healthcare sector in order to solve healthcare needs of our communities and help universalise healthcare products and services by increasing reach and affordability.
A big draw of this Fellowship is that it will provide exposure to local and global Venture Capital (VC) partners during training and incubation. The trainees would be given an opportunity to pitch to investors at the end of the Fellowship.
The CfHE’s fellowships are dedicated to the mission of “Healthcare for all”, in line with “Startup India,” It has been conceptualized, is administered and mentored by a global team from India and the U.S, including Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, academics from Stanford University, biomedical industry professionals, and some of India’s well-known healthcare NGOs.
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